About 90 per cent of all global transport goes by ship and this requires highly trained crews on the vessels. But before sea captains are ready to work at sea, training is needed to handle ships in many different types of conditions. To mimic different scenarios at sea and in port ship simulators are used.
Chalmers has Sweden's largest simulator centre for maritime education and research. The simulators at Lindholmen are connected to other simulators around Europe via the European Maritime Simulator Network (EMSN). Thanks to this, several simulators can share in the same digital arena and the simulation of traffic situations becomes as close to reality as possible.
“It becomes a lot more authentic when the students can meet other ships that are controlled by other people in the same situation compared to encounter a computer-controlled ship. Also, this will improve the understanding of how others think and communicate. And we as instructors get better conditions to see and coach the way students cooperate on the bridge”, says Mats Gruvefeldt, instructor at Maritime Studies at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.
New international cooperation
For the first time, the EMSN has been linked to the Asian counterpart – Asia Pacific Maritime Simulator Network (APMSN). This means that a pilot in on location in South Korea was able to remotely pilot students in the simulator at Lindholmen to virtually dock a large merchant vessel in Busan's port in South Korea. The merchant vessel was also assisted by two tugboats which were operated from Chalmers. Remote piloting may be part of the future of international shipping.
“That the test was successful means a lot. It requires advanced technology and good cooperation with everyone involved. In addition, it opens new opportunities for increased international cooperation, which promotes both education and research here at Lindholmen”, says Mats Gruvefeldt.
Facts: The European Maritime Simulator Network (EMSN) is technically coordinated by Fraunhofer CML in Germany, where a server connects simulators in Europe. Research on how to develop and streamline shipping with, among other things, remote piloting is conducted thanks to the network. But the network is also used for education of both future seafarers and continuing education for those who are already out in working life.
Text: Anders Ryttarson Törneholm